Tag Archives: garden photography

Merry Christmas

christmascard2009

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Faux Mercury

broccoli

broccoli

water beads on broccoli

water beads on broccoli


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I’ve mentioned before that rain causes some visual transformations in the garden. This has caused me to discover an amazing fact about the broccoli plant. It is completely waterproof. Water beads up on the large leaves giving the illusion of a garden of mercury.

Mercury?

What is now known to be a hazardous element was years ago a fascinating childhood toy. A broken thermometer in our house was the beginning of an adventure for my brother and me. Watching the silvery metal bead in my hand – then crushing it into miniscule pieces only to have it reform into a single bead – was a miracle.

If you have broccoli in your garden you may want to run out there this week (there’s going to be a lot of rain in the Chicago area) and you may experience a little of that childhood miracle without the hazard.

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Back to it…

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The greenhouse is not the only neglected part of my gardening life. Jesse pointed out that I have not been attending to this blog. Well, he’s right. I’ve been distracted by work, creating a Facebook presence for my photo business, and …well …gardening.

All the spring rains have made everything grow like mad. We have eaten most of the lettuce, all of the spinach (more on that later) and radishes, and a good bunch of turnips last night.

tasty turnips

tasty turnips

Also doing very well are

• tomatoes

• broccoli

• zuccini

• Noah’s pumpkins

broccoli

broccoli

teeny, tiny peppers!

teeny, tiny peppers!

Now, if only I knew what was eating my pepper plants. And …what are those beetles on Noah’s pumpkin plants? Time to get out the insect book. More soon …I promise.

Noah's pumpkin plants are flowering.

Noah's pumpkin plants are flowering.


Is this thing going to eat Noah's pumpkins?

Is this thing going to eat Noah's pumpkins?

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Beautiful Pests

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Soaked Yard

Soaked Yard

As rain continues to fall it has become evident that my tomato plants will simply not survive. Their roots will not take the water logging they have suffered this spring.

It’s interesting that common weeds in my lawn such as dandelion, violets and garlic mustard are not at all negatively affected by the Chicago area’s second-wettest spring in history. Although these “pests” can be eliminated by modern chemistry (a ritual I resist most years) they can remain under water for days and only become the stronger for it.

It may be the cumulative effect of massive numbers of their kind that makes weeds the pests that they seem to be. Dandelions and garlic mustard reproduce in plague-like portions.

violet

violet

But a close look at many lawn and garden weeds reveals a stunning beauty that is hard to deny. It may be my way of making peace with them but I’ve always enjoyed a myopic view of these plants in small quantities.
Dandelion

Dandelion

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Another “pest” with beautiful qualities is the cottontail rabbit. In the photo below you can see a bit of my plan to reduce the numbers of dandelions. In theory, a rabbit with his belly full of dandelions may be too full to eat my lettuce. Well, my plan also includes a fence.
Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

I’ll comment more about pests when the bugs come out in force. In the mean time, we’ll all hope for some sunshine.

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Poetry of Decay

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A couple of times each week I carry my coffee can full of coffee grounds, egg shells and banana peels to the compost pile. That, combined with grass clippings and autumn’s leaves create quite a pile.

But once decomposition begins, the pile shrinks and becomes the dark brownish- black compost that the garden seems to love.

Aside from this wonderful function, I have found a poetic side of decay that is truly beautiful. Our old greenhouse is a monument to oxidation. Rust’s rich color combined with the familiar shape of the tools they once were create odd sculptures.dsc_2344

My neighbor’s rhubarb turns a beautiful color and shape after a series of autumn freezes.dsc_3586

And last year I found a squirrel’s nearly complete skeleton in a corner of the compost pile. Even it’s tiny molars can be seen in the photo below. _wkp0768 dsc_2377

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Forage Oakland

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My daughter put me onto the Forage Oakland project. Created a year ago by my daughter’s college friend, Asiya Wadud, the project addresses “how everyone can benefit from viewing their neighborhood as a veritable edible map.” It’s an interesting concept and one that is as old as the Bible. Israelite law demanded that the corners of grain fields not be harvested. Also, any grain dropped during harvest was to be left for the poor to be picked up for food. This served the dual purpose of an early welfare program but also prevented the farm owners from hoarding.

Asi has come up with a very interesting project and, I have to say, she has some excellent photography as well!

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